Australian Aborigine Dream Beliefs

The Australian native peoples are divided into more than 500 tribal groups. These tribes are also of two major types – those who live inland, and those who live along the coastline. The separation of tribes and the division provided by the environment led to differences in views about the nature of human life and death, and the part dreams played. But some beliefs, such as reincarnation and the ‘Dreamtime’, were universally held.

Dreamtime refers to an experience and to beliefs that are largely peculiar to the Australian native people. There are at least four aspects to Dreamtime – The beginning of all things; the life and influence of the ancestors; the way of life and death; and sources of power in life.

Dreamtime includes all of these four facets at the same time, being a condition beyond time and space as known in everyday life. The aborigines call it the ‘all-at-once’ time instead of the ‘one-thing-after-another’ time. This is because they experience Dreamtime as the past present and future coexisting. This condition – See: altered states of consciousness – is met when the tribal member lives according to tribal rules, and then is initiated through rituals and hearing the myths of the tribe.

Although Dreamtime may sound rather mystical or mysterious to the Western mind, the experience is based on understandable and observable facts of social and mental life which are unfortunately little valued in Western society. For instance the present is observably the result of past actions or events. Present society is particularly the result of past great men and women and their – heroic – deeds. For the Australian native peoples, as with many other ancient races, the heroic deeds of past ancestors were remembered with great veneration. It was seen that all present life, and even the personal skills and character of tribal members, arose out of the life of the ancestors. The ancestors, their deeds, and what arise from them into the life of the tribe in the present, are all held in the Dreamtime beyond the shifting events of things happening one-after-the-other.

The aborigine people believed that each person had a part of their nature that was eternal. This eternal being pre-existed the life of the individual, and only became a living person through being born to a mother. The person then lived a life in time, and at death melted back into the eternal life.

In writing about the state of mind – the mental world – of early races, J. B. Priestley – in Man and Time – says that if we are to properly understand the ancient peoples we must never project onto them our own state of mind and rational thought. Studies have shown that ancient people experienced what is called an undifferentiated state of mind. Their sense of being a separate and independent person was much less than is commonly experienced in modern life. They did not separate their religious life, their social life, their economic life, their artistic life and their sexual life from each other. This is obvious to even a casual observation of such societies, or even third world cultures, where religion and eating, and work are all very much connected. To be banished from the tribe was tantamount to death for primitive individuals, so deeply were they identified in psychological and practical ways to the rest of the tribe. But it is not an unusual thing for a modern man or woman to leave their place of birth, their family or their country, and live abroad. Such simple facts illustrate the deep divide between the modern and ancient state of mind.

If we remember our early childhood, with the absence of an awareness of passing time, the fullness of each day, the eternity of a week or a month, the enormous and unquestioned – if still untraumatised – sense of connection with our family, then we will have an idea of the mental world of the older races. For the aborigine these facts of their life were tangible realities, known through their inner experience in dreams and waking visions. Prior to the development of the reasoning and questioning mind, people did not consider things by thinking about them in neat ideas and definitions. Like the parables in the Bible or Aesop’s fables, which say so much, but do so with images and through the relationship of one thing or person with another, early human beings thought in pictures or dream like images. So the aborigine would meet the influence of the ancestors in their life as an actual visionary person, rather than thoughts about tribal history. With the visionary meeting would come deep feelings and insights, making it a real educational experience. This is exactly how dreams express, and in this manner most creative or problem solving ‘thinking’ was done by ancient peoples. Therefore the entrance into dreams, or into a condition in which the imagery of dreaming could function while awake, as in visions or altered states of consciousness, was important for the aborigine. Common ways of accessing this state of mind were through ritual or initiation rites. In this way enormous learning experiences could be met, a sense of complete identification with ancestors and tribal history achieved, and personal change or growth accomplished.

This condition of mind or being in which time is ‘all-at-once’ and the past is felt as intensely close as the present, is a natural and fundamental state. It is what the baby experiences in the womb prior to the separation at birth and the development of concepts through the learning of language. So the rituals which enable the aborigine to return to the womb of all time and existence enables them to feel connected once more to all nature, to all their ancestors, and to their own personal meaning and place within the scheme of things. The Dreamtime is a return to the real existence for the aborigine. Life in time is simply a passing phase – a gap in eternity. It has a beginning and it has an end. The life in Dreamtime has no beginning and no end.

The experience of Dreamtime, whether through ritual or from dreams, flowed through into the life in time in practical ways. The individual who enters the Dreamtime feels no separation between themselves and their ancestors. The strengths and resources of the timeless enter into what is needed in the life of the present. The future is less uncertain because the individual feels their life as a continuum linking past and future in unbroken connection. Through Dreamtime the limiatations of time and space are overcome. It is a much observed feature of aboriginal life that knowledge of distant relatives and their condition is frequently displayed. Therefore if a relative is ill, a distant family member knows this and hurries to them. Often the intuitive knowledge of herbal medicine is gained also.

For the aborigine tribes, there is no ending of life at ‘death’. Dead relatives are very much a part of continuing life. It is believed that in dreams dead relatives communicate their presence. At times they may bring healing if the dreamer is in pain. Death is seen as part of a cycle of life in which one emerges from Dreamtime through birth, and eventually returns to the timeless, only to emerge again. It is also a common belief that a person leaves their body during sleep, and temporarily enters the Dreamtime.

The aboriginal tribes are connected with their local landscape in a way that perhaps no other race of recent times is. The landscape is almost an externalisation of the individual’s inner world. Each tribe had a traditional area of the land which was theirs alone, and it was believed that in the Dreamtime the ancestors shaped the flat landscape into its present features. Each feature was in some way an act of the ancestors, and therefore the tribe. Like many tribal peoples, the Australian native people were deeply dependent upon their beliefs, the landscape and their inner life for their identity and strength. This makes them vulnerable to anything which disrupts their beliefs, although, apart from such vulnerability, they have a greater psychic sense of wholeness and identity with their tribe and environment than is common in Western individuals.

See the feature Spirit-Child: The Aboriginal Experience of Pre-Birth Communication.

Comments

-Stephen Wakeling 2012-10-31 23:10:08

Although my upbringing was christian, I have always had questions. I believe time does not exist in reality. That the bite that was taken out of the apple was actually a Byte, but when the information in that byte could not be understood. Time started and history would be good, bad, and very ugly. Time is no ones friend

-z 2012-05-15 7:00:21

Australian Aborigine Dream Beliefs
The Australian native peoples are divided into more than 500 tribal groups. These tribes are also of two major types – those who live inland, and those who live along the coastline. The separation of tribes and the division provided by the environment led to differences in views about the nature of human life and death, and the part dreams played. But some beliefs, such as reincarnation and the ‘Dreamtime’, were universally held.

Dreamtime refers to an experience and to beliefs that are largely peculiar to the Australian native people. There are at least four aspects to Dreamtime – The beginning of all things; the life and influence of the ancestors; the way of life and death; and sources of power in life.

Dreamtime includes all of these four facets at the same time, being a condition beyond time and space as known in everyday life. The aborigines call it the ‘all-at-once’ time instead of the ‘one-thing-after-another’ time. This is because they experience Dreamtime as the past present and future coexisting. This condition – See: altered states of consciousness – is met when the tribal member lives according to tribal rules, and then is initiated through rituals and hearing the myths of the tribe.

Although Dreamtime may sound rather mystical or mysterious to the Western mind, the experience is based on understandable and observable facts of social and mental life which are unfortunately little valued in Western society. For instance the present is observably the result of past actions or events. Present society is particularly the result of past great men and women and their – heroic – deeds. For the Australian native peoples, as with many other ancient races, the heroic deeds of past ancestors were remembered with great veneration. It was seen that all present life, and even the personal skills and character of tribal members, arose out of the life of the ancestors. The ancestors, their deeds, and what arise from them into the life of the tribe in the present, are all held in the Dreamtime beyond the shifting events of things happening one-after-the-other.

The aborigine people believed that each person had a part of their nature that was eternal. This eternal being pre-existed the life of the individual, and only became a living person through being born to a mother. The person then lived a life in time, and at death melted back into the eternal life.

In writing about the state of mind – the mental world – of early races, J. B. Priestley – in Man and Time – says that if we are to properly understand the ancient peoples we must never project onto them our own state of mind and rational thought. Studies have shown that ancient people experienced what is called an undifferentiated state of mind. Their sense of being a separate and independent person was much less than is commonly experienced in modern life. They did not separate their religious life, their social life, their economic life, their artistic life and their sexual life from each other. This is obvious to even a casual observation of such societies, or even third world cultures, where religion and eating, and work are all very much connected. To be banished from the tribe was tantamount to death for primitive individuals, so deeply were they identified in psychological and practical ways to the rest of the tribe. But it is not an unusual thing for a modern man or woman to leave their place of birth, their family or their country, and live abroad. Such simple facts illustrate the deep divide between the modern and ancient state of mind.

If we remember our early childhood, with the absence of an awareness of passing time, the fullness of each day, the eternity of a week or a month, the enormous and unquestioned – if still untraumatised – sense of connection with our family, then we will have an idea of the mental world of the older races. For the aborigine these facts of their life were tangible realities, known through their inner experience in dreams and waking visions. Prior to the development of the reasoning and questioning mind, people did not consider things by thinking about them in neat ideas and definitions. Like the parables in the Bible or Aesop’s fables, which say so much, but do so with images and through the relationship of one thing or person with another, early human beings thought in pictures or dream like images. So the aborigine would meet the influence of the ancestors in their life as an actual visionary person, rather than thoughts about tribal history. With the visionary meeting would come deep feelings and insights, making it a real educational experience. This is exactly how dreams express, and in this manner most creative or problem solving ‘thinking’ was done by ancient peoples. Therefore the entrance into dreams, or into a condition in which the imagery of dreaming could function while awake, as in visions or altered states of consciousness, was important for the aborigine. Common ways of accessing this state of mind were through ritual or initiation rites. In this way enormous learning experiences could be met, a sense of complete identification with ancestors and tribal history achieved, and personal change or growth accomplished.

This condition of mind or being in which time is ‘all-at-once’ and the past is felt as intensely close as the present, is a natural and fundamental state. It is what the baby experiences in the womb prior to the separation at birth and the development of concepts through the learning of language. So the rituals which enable the aborigine to return to the womb of all time and existence enables them to feel connected once more to all nature, to all their ancestors, and to their own personal meaning and place within the scheme of things. The Dreamtime is a return to the real existence for the aborigine. Life in time is simply a passing phase – a gap in eternity. It has a beginning and it has an end. The life in Dreamtime has no beginning and no end.

The experience of Dreamtime, whether through ritual or from dreams, flowed through into the life in time in practical ways. The individual who enters the Dreamtime feels no separation between themselves and their ancestors. The strengths and resources of the timeless enter into what is needed in the life of the present. The future is less uncertain because the individual feels their life as a continuum linking past and future in unbroken connection. Through Dreamtime the limiatations of time and space are overcome. It is a much observed feature of aboriginal life that knowledge of distant relatives and their condition is frequently displayed. Therefore if a relative is ill, a distant family member knows this and hurries to them. Often the intuitive knowledge of herbal medicine is gained also.

For the aborigine tribes, there is no ending of life at ‘death’. Dead relatives are very much a part of continuing life. It is believed that in dreams dead relatives communicate their presence. At times they may bring healing if the dreamer is in pain. Death is seen as part of a cycle of life in which one emerges from Dreamtime through birth, and eventually returns to the timeless, only to emerge again. It is also a common belief that a person leaves their body during sleep, and temporarily enters the Dreamtime.

The aboriginal tribes are connected with their local landscape in a way that perhaps no other race of recent times is. The landscape is almost an externalisation of the individual’s inner world. Each tribe had a traditional area of the land which was theirs alone, and it was believed that in the Dreamtime the ancestors shaped the flat landscape into its present features. Each feature was in some way an act of the ancestors, and therefore the tribe. Like many tribal peoples, the Australian native people were deeply dependent upon their beliefs, the landscape and their inner life for their identity and strength. This makes them vulnerable to anything which disrupts their beliefs, although, apart from such vulnerability, they have a greater psychic sense of wholeness and identity with their tribe and environment than is common in Western individuals.

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-jd 2011-12-13 5:19:03

I enjoyed your presentation of Aboriginal Dream Beliefs. I think change is the order of the Universe. And the Western world is the impetus for ancient dream cycles to assist in a more harmonious integration of billions of people. The West will have a temptation to extinguish the light even though that is what they seek. Dreams might be the fundamental stimulus for the new paradigm.

If aborigines can expand their dream world to the continent of Australia then they might be meeting the task nature has set before them.

    -Tony Crisp 2011-12-13 9:10:34

    JD – It is good to have a mind with a wider view – so thank you for that and your comments.

    Have you seen the feature http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/archetype-of-the-paradigm/

    I had a dream a while ago in which a new paradigm was working in the unconscious as well as normal awareness, and it was pushing up with great force. If it is correct, there will be a massive shift at some time – change, yes.

    Tony

-rideforever 2011-11-21 18:38:36

“Although Dreamtime may sound rather mystical or mysterious to the Western mind, the experience is based on understandable and observable facts of social and mental life which are unfortunately little valued in Western society. For instance the present is observably the result of past actions or events. Present society is particularly the result of past great men and women and their – heroic – deeds.”

This is an incorrect interpretation of the ‘all-at-once’ time.

The ‘all-at-once’ time is the mystical state of the primordial mind as indicated by Buddha and the many Indian Mystics. Some call it the eternal present, like the author Ekhart Tolle. All-at-once is a perfect description.

The Western child does experience an openness of its mind, but it is much less than that indicated by the Aborigines. For the Aborigines their entire culture is orientated towards dreamtime and then some addition impetus is placed through ritual to push you into dreamtime … exactly like yoga in India. Although a Western child experiences some luminosity before his education turns him into a vegetable, it is not comparable to dreamtime.

Your projection of this experience into ‘the heorice deeds of the past’ … is your lack of experience and understanding of the mystic state. You are heavily Westernised.

The Indian mystical tradition is 10,000 years old perhaps. The Aborigine tradition may be far older.

    -Tony Crisp 2011-12-22 10:01:20

    RideForever – I think you have not read what I was written carefully. Also you take it that I do not understand the yogic mystical tradition, yet I have practiced it since the age of thirteen, and have known the all-at-once state since 16. Having been a questioning explorer of these states, I write about the best I have come across so far. Even if one has experienced these states there is still a lot to learn.

    Tony

-punjab 2011-11-14 22:33:27

i like it like that

-Tony Crisp 2011-05-26 8:17:29

I know this is about Australia and the peoples health and well being, but it seems to me to be a much bigger issue, it is about the attitude that sees money as the only goal in life.

Watch the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93hRPRxXFg4&feature=share

Tony

-nathan cook 2011-05-19 23:34:03

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    -Tony Crisp 2011-05-31 11:05:02

    Especially the big ones.

-Kirsty Baker 2011-05-09 8:30:08

is it all turn and if it is you need to do it more in a children way so they can read i am 12 and i can`t read all of it .thats is it if you wantto tak to me about this then heres my number
07933661884,
and my6 name is kirsty baker but when you call me plz tell mer who you are
lots of love misss k baker
call mein 1 min

-Suzi 2011-03-27 16:31:29

when was this article published?

    -Tony Crisp 2011-03-30 11:22:48

    Suzi – About six years ago, but I recently up dated it. It is obviously about their traditional beliefs.

    Tony

-Kim 2011-02-05 16:22:58

I awoke twice saying the work aborigine. I have never used this word in my waking life and I associated the word to mean a specific tribe. Recently, I have been recording my dreams in a journal. I find it more than a coincidence that a word with such a meaning was within my vocabulary during an altered state.

    -Tony Crisp 2011-02-10 11:43:30

    Kim – In fact we have access to the world thought and experience. But what usually happens is that our thoughts, desires and fears – or at best our enquiries – tend to put us in touch with a limited amount of that wonderful wealth.

    Of course you can do this without going to sleep by developing your intuition. I would suggest reading the book, There is a River by Thomas Sugrue – http://www.amazon.com/Story-Edgar-Cayce-There-River/dp/0876043759/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297337777&sr=1-1. It is a wonderful book, and is about the life of Edgar Cayce, who lived that wider awareness.

    Also see Using your Intuition – .

    Tony

-Mehak 2010-12-05 9:45:47

belife and superstrition

    -Tony Crisp 2010-12-06 14:10:21

    Mehak – Interesting words, belief and superstition. Here is another wonderful word to ponder about – paradigm.

    A paradigm is a belief system that millions of people are in the grip of in a way that controls them, imprisons them, and denies them their full potential. It is generally called the paradigm of the western mind. It could also be called the worldview or even the religion of most western people – religion because actually it is a belief system. However, if you asked most people in the streets of western cities about it, they would not say they believed it is a paradigm. They would insist it is reality!

    The American Heritage Dictionary defines a paradigm as – “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.”

    We could say, in regard to the western mind, that many of us share ‘assumptions, concepts, values’ and prejudices that are at the base of how we believe life to be, and we consider to be reality. However, if we examine this ‘reality’ we see it is made up of a set of theories and beliefs that have become culturally and generally accepted. The imprisoning aspect of this is that we take these assumptions, these theories of what reality is, to be reality itself. We actually see and live in the world as if the shifting theories are concretely real.

    In its simplest form, the paradigm mentioned can be described as having arisen from the mechanistic ideas of Newtonian physics, in which the universe was seen as a huge mechanical device. As Newtonian physics developed, the fundamental particle of the universe was defined as the atom. Nothing in scientific research at the time could prove that anything existed beyond the atom, and the atom is a physical object. Therefore, nothing other than physical substance was ‘real’. This, so it appeared, disproved the possibility of personal awareness being anything other than some trick of chemicals, molecules and atoms in the brain and body. Personal awareness does not exist except as a product of the physical brain. There could be no spirit or life after death because, after all, we are only atoms! Nothing in our consciousness can exist unless it is produced by the brain.

    Richard Tarnas, in his book Cosmos and Psyche, says of this paradigm of the western mind, “As with all powerful myths, we have been, and many perhaps remain, largely unconscious of this historical paradigm’s hold on our collective imagination. It animates the vast majority of contemporary books and essays, editorial columns, book reviews, science articles, research papers, and television documentaries, as well as political, social, and economic policies. It is so familiar to us, so close to our perception, that in many respects it has become our common sense, the form and foundation of our self image as modern humans.”

    In 1900 Max Planck proposed a revolutionary new view of the universe in publishing the quantum theory. Since then the theory has gathered strength through an enormous amount of research, and is suggesting a universe in which the atom is by no means the fundamental material of our body or the cosmos. In fact it says that the core of our being is an almost indescribable condition of infinite potential. They go so far as to say that we are co-creators of the world we live in, as our personal awareness changes the nature of the things surrounding us.

    To step out of the paradigm of the western mind, or any other paradigm, the path of self enquiry and direct experience of the reality you are is the only way. In the past this has often been called ‘illumination’ or ‘enlightenment’ – but think of it simply as direct experience of yourself.

    Tony

    -Sohail-RRKT 2012-07-10 10:57:11

    The dreams of aborigine have nothing to do with their superstitions; they are two unrelated phenomena. The dreams are a part of the central core of their belief in God and the means of receiving communication from Him. According to them, from time immemorial, they have been witnessing the signs of an All-Knowing Supreme Being who takes a live interest in the affairs of what He creates. Thus the Aborigines have a genuine cause of complaint against the Western researchers who dismiss their religious experience as unworthy of being called religious because they deem them too primitive and ignorant. Their efforts to distort the image of the Aboriginal faith must have stemmed from the fear lest this recognition should discredit their own previously held theories.

      -Tony Crisp 2012-07-11 8:35:13

      Sohail – Where have I said that their beliefs are superstition, and where have I said they are ignorant?

      Or is this a rant?

      See C:\A-Web\DreamHawk\rokbeast.htm

      Tony

        -eleni_aus 2016-06-10 20:10:11

        sohail is referring the words of the earlier speaker (mehak) not you

-Christina 2010-09-16 1:27:53

whats 3 big facts about aboriginal religion

    -Tony Crisp 2010-09-20 10:05:50

    Christina – Three or maybe more facts about Aboriginal religion are:

    1 The land is also their soul. There is no disconnection for them.
    2 They believe that the soul of the baby is there before birth or even conception – so there is reincarnation.
    3 They believe or realise that there are different types of life experience or time. There is the experience of timelessness, beyond time and space. That is ‘the all at once time’ as compared with the ‘one thing after another time’.
    4 They have great veneration for their ancestors.
    5 In testing aboriginal’s ability to communicate at a distance it was shown it was a fact. Jack Thompson the film star told me of a case where an aboriginal worker on film said he had to rush off because his uncles was ill. As there was a not telephone where they were Jack thought it was nonsense. But when he checked it the uncle was seriously ill. The aboriginals believe as part of their religion that they are all connected to each other.

    Tony

      -sohail 2012-07-10 10:51:02

      High Gods of the Aborigines is no different from that of God elsewhere in the conventional monotheistic religions. People who practice religions (which ever it may be in its true original true form) can exeperince such communication that come from the Supreme Being. Such dreams all of us are capable to achieving. But this state is actually by product of the real aim of the acheiving nearness to the creater the Supreme Being, High Gods or Allah what ever you wish to call Him.

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